Pain is temporary, failure lasts forever

Lean, agile living for the running mother of Peter


Commercials are spooky

when i started writing about the release, the following commercial appeared:
Pinched Nerve Relief
Gentle Arthroscopic Solution-Quick Recovery. Learn More Now.

Don't think that will help

still here...

we should have left at 18:00, at the latest. so why am I still here?


In the middle of the release

Non of us in the team is sick. And it's release time! Tjohoo. So, instead the application is sick. We don't have running software. Our release should have been 15:00, but the release has been moved to 11:00, tomorrow. I hope I get some sleep before that...



Last long run...

On the previous Saturday I had my final long run before Stockholm Marathon. The difficulty right now is FOCUS. During my previous marathons, I've been able to focus before the run. But that was before my previous job, little Peter and all the other things that make focus a sparse part of life. So I focus by reading literature. I've rediscovered Oscar Wilde, Ken Kesey and all those loves of my life.

I didn't remember the sharpness of Wilde. The details of Kesey. I forgot about the joy of reading good literature. I don't mean that I haven't been reading during the past months and years. But there is reading books and there is reading literature. I hope this doesn't become yet another distraction. Because next Saturday I'm going to do some serious running...



Who's the Good guy?

Watching cycling is some what of a hobby... Ok, I admit that I follow all the big road races when displayed on TV. During the summer months I probably spend about two hours a day watching the Giro, the Tour or the Vuelta. So, you could say I follow cycling. But does that make me know the cyclists? Well, I'd say no. I don't know them at all. I'm pretty good at recognizing them on a distance based on their form, style, clothes and all that. But I have no idea who's nice and who's not so nice. Well, you see that some of the guys seems nice to the others in the peleton and in their team. But the behavior in a competition, not to mention an inhuman physical competition in the summer heat and with cameras up your face probably doesn't say everything about that person.

So I'm amazed at cycling fans being "chocked" when learning that a specific cyclist has cheated and used illegal substances. Do you know that people cheat? Yes. Does cyclists cheat? Yes. So how do you know which cyclist is predisposed to cheating? That he's nice looking? That he passes water bottles to others cyclists? That other cyclists are disappointed at a guy they spent hours racing with is probably just sane but we watchers will never have any idea which athletes are cheats. Just imaging Lance Armstrong's comment when his old buddy and long time room mate was caught: something like ' I would be amazed if he'd used doping." He couldn't be certain of one of his oldest friends, so how can we be?

Well, I'm saddened by cheating but hey, in all competitions there are cheaters. We must be better at catching them and giving them the proper punishment.



When things change

We're one week from sprint finish. I've come quite far with the planning for the summer sprint. Nice and cool. Then the PO comes and says he wants to go through the workflow for one of the applications. That application hasn't been our main focus, but we've put a little love into it during all the sprints. So, I say OK, and we schedule a meeting on Monday. But I start the application on Thursday. I haven't been following it and left to the PO to do the acceptance testing. Then I realized why he wanted the meeting. Disaster. All the small decisions we'd made we're probably right on their own but the end result was terrible. A normal user wouldn't be able to follow the workflow. I called the PO and he said that he'd felt this for some time but hadn't said anything.

Sh*t. So instead of being a head of plan I'm now facing changing all plans. Lot of work, in a few words. But why did I think Sh*t? This is what agile is about. Starting to work the code and realizing that this isn't what we wanted and change things before we're out of other options than continuing the loosing path. If we'd worked waterfall, there had been a good chance this would have taken months to understand. Then sh*t would be a mild word. So, as I told the team today, when I myself had cooled down: this is the best thing that could have happened. And the changes will affect one person (that is me...) instead of the whole team.



Being the sh*t manager

During two summer months I won't be the scrum master of the development project. Instead, one of the guys will take the responsibility. He said he had a vague idea but saw it most as updating the to-do-list. So, I sat down and made a list of the responsibilities. Boring tasks, all of them. Dull and Grey. Perhaps this can be permanent, if this works during these months, why not let this continue so I can be one of the ordinary team members and leave the sh*t to someone else. But the title is fun, having the word Master in the title must be the objective of all human beings.

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Being brave

I know some people have problem with hair growth on their heads. This has never been a problem for me. My hair grows and it grows fast. When my son was born I just let it grow. When I cut it I cut of decimeters at the time and it was still always too long. When you go running at least three times a week, it's a trouble. Not to mention if you exercise at least 2 times besides that.

So, about two months ago I cut it off. I went to a local hairdresser. She couldn't believe her ears. I wanted to cut it off. During the long hour it took her to complete the task, she kept repeting how brave I was. It's not the first time: I've cut off my hair four times by now and it's always the same story. As a woman, you're brave if you cut off your hair.

Today, the same thing. I wanted it really short in the back. She wouldn't co operate. I kept explaining I wouldn't kill her if she did what I wanted. I explained that I'd had much much shorter hair before. She didn't believe me. I tried again explaining what I wanted. Then she burst into all smiles: Oh, like Victoria Beckham. (I'm not exactly reading the tabloids, so my insite in the question is non existing but after her producing a magazine I could confirm that this was what I wanted.) Then, it was suddenly OK and she started cutting. So, being brave as a woman is cutting your hair short using a style no modern celebrity is using. That is Woman's lib for 2007...



Wonders of life

Some say that giving birth is the most amazing moment in life. Others say other physical acheivements like completing a marathon or winning a competition of some kind. The day before last I experienced one of the most wonderful things ever. Struggling as a working mom who never took her son to toddlers swim and other "activities for children", you kind of wonder. Have my just including my son in my everyday activities such as cleaning, doing the dishes and washing had a negative effect on his feelings for me? Of course, he's only 2,5 years old and have plenty of time figuring that out and he'll probably yell the answer to me in his teens, but then is then. How about now? Does he feel close to me as the stay at home-, passifier like and total child absorbed mothers who I have difficulty feeling comfortable with?

Well, we'd had a wonderful day in the sun. Been to the stores, had some visitiors, gone walking the dog, goofing around. Just him and me. Nothing special. Just hanging around. So, when it was bedtime he just reached for me and hugged me really tight. And said [translated into English] "Together". Sometimes it's not more diffucult than that. And it's never as wonderful as that.



92 pages of reasons why you shouldn't buy our system

My CEO told me today that one of our salespersons had made a sales ppt presentation of 92 slides. Don't know about you, but a powerpoint never made me buy anything. Ever. I've thought a lot about powerpoints and presentations during the latter week. What makes them good, what makes them bad. I believe that ppts has become the passifier of our and the previous generation. You can't go in to a meeting without them. The more the better. Use them all the time. It's often very ugly to look at. And you think: when is he going to stop...

I think I've seen three really memorable ppts in my life. One was about the similarities between modern city planning and the inside of the computer. Another was by Peter Englund, the brilliant Swedish History professor and lecturer, on the battle of Poltava. The third was about Roman city planning (and that was fun because the lecturer used Asterix and Obelix cartoons...). It's no coincidence that the hundreds of sales presentations I've seen over the years are not included. It is not a conincidence that non of my presentations are included...

A problem in sales situations I find that so many sales persons think they are there to educate rather than sell the f**cking product. They are lecturing. And what do we do during lectures: well the bored persons fall into other thoughts and the intelligent people start to question. All statements can become an issue for debate. I often see this with lists: there are extensive lists with details. And what do we do with lists: we look for what is excluded. And we ask for the excluded thing.

I also made a critical error in a customer presentation this week: I showed the architectural sketch of our system. In what way would that make the customer buy? By showing this details I could have fallen in an at that point useless debate on REST being SOA or not. That didn't happen but I should have instead talked about the principle of what we want to achieve with our architecture. The arch is bound to change, but the strategy will remain. Then, of course, you can and should explain details if details are asked for. But then it's the customer's choice and that choice is what a presentation should be about.

No bagels, so how about some ducks?

I didn't win the lottery. In January, I thought: why not runt New York Marathon? Never done a full marathon outside Stockholm (I've only run Stockholm...) so why not combine two of my passions: New York bagels and running? Well, if it would have been that easy. I am not alone. So I had to rely on the lottery and I had a one in four chance. Didn't count on the odds, so I started thinking: where will I run if I don't win in the lottery? My options are Amsterdam, Berlin and Beijing. Dutch, german or Chinese? I leaning on the Peking duck and I will probably have made up my mind this week, when I talked to my boss about the much needed Autumn break for the scrum master in question.

I sometimes wonder who continues running or exercising through out their lives? Why ha´ve I continued? In my case, I can't blame my upbringing. My parents (forgive me mom and dad) are not the athletic types, to put it mildly, and I didn't move voluntarily for the first 25 years of my life. But now I've been active for almost ten years. So, why has this come about? I think the answer in my case can be found in the NY M story: when there was a pretty good chance I wouldn't be able to race: I found an option. Not running at all was not an option. The same during my pregnancy: when the doctors said no more running I started counting when I could resume my habits and I stuck to that plan. I find that people who talk more about starting exercising or worse: why they stopped exercising, are very good at finding these reasons and whynots. If they just used 10% of the time they spend whining doing something proactive instead, the sky would be the limit. If they just didn't stop at the first obsticle and instead tried forseeing it and figuring out an option, space would be the final frontier!



Planes and pains

When you work with use cases and storyboards you are sometimes amazed that looking at how things are thought to be used is so foreign for certain professionals. Like people planning Swedish airports. They don't seem to fly. Ever.

This is my view: You get to the domestic airport and there is nowhere to sit. Like people doesn't wait when they come to airports. I went to the new terminal at Sundsvall Airport and there were less than 15 seats (the tiny coffee shop INCLUDED). So when the security control opened 45 minutes before planned take off I went through. There were 5 places to sit after the security check. Like you don't wait at airports. But what you could do after the security check was look at chairs. Because after you have gone in to the boarding area there were multiple seats. Like 50. But the staff didn't open the gate until the plane boarding had started. So you went into the only area where there was planned for people waiting and then you were supposed to board the plane. But the chairs were nice. Hardly used, but nice.

When you realize that the people involved in planning a project as the airport terminal you get to think: if they didn't know that, what else have they missed... Better stop thinking. Things are better left not thought about.



Being agile in methodology

It's nothing new, of course, but something worth thinking about: the historical Jesus probably thought of himself as a Jew and probably didn't use the term Christian himself. And of course, this is not only applicable to Jesus: lot of historical figures have long after their passing being labeled as a typical XYZ.

So, when are you using Scrum as methodology? In my project, we use lots of scrummish terms and tools, but for us being agile is also being agile in process. Why use the waterfall methodology when it comes to process? Why should we stick to tools we don´t find comfortable? We don´t. Our guideline is make it work for our team and our project. But when have we wandered so far of the beaten path that we no longer can call the methodology Scrum? Let's wait ten years and see what it is called.

It is good to know that we are not alone in this process, it actually has a name (though scorned by my team members) it is called post-agile and you can google it yourself if your interested. One of my tips is this blog:



Just be nice...

Turning agile is hard. Building a new product from scratch is difficult. Forming a team is a big challenge. Do it all in the same time is suicide... Or? Our team is doing all this at the same time. We are too few, we are too hard-headed and we've taken on several on their own merits, very diffucult tasks at one time. The interesting thing is that it is much like long distance running. It's not a question of IF it hurts, it is WHERE it hurts and how well you can handle that kind of pain.

Somehow you believe that you just have to be relieved from THAT pain and everything will be well. But then something else becomes the thing that hurts the most. In our team we have reached the team building phase three, conflict. We have been there too long and have done very little to move on.

Well, we have tried lots of things but not the most important: just be nice and acknowledge the other person's needs. Well, don't know about you but I tend to get cranky when I express a need and that is ignored. So, then I don't acknowledge that person's needs and he becomes cranky as well. Intelligent - not. Proactive - not. Just plain stupid. So, what can you do? The only person's behaviour you can affect is your own. (Well you might say you can affect your children, but I don't know. You can perhaps guide them, but that is not the point. You decide how you behave, whether or not you're grownup or child. That is my basic standing point anyway.) So I'll just try being nice for once.



things to be happy about

There are few things that makes you as happy as things. Monday, I bought a second-hand bike that is fold able. ( And of course, I'm in love. Just took a short ride from the car to work, but it's actually a really fun bike to run. Of course, it's not the kind of bike you take on long tours, but for my urban needs it's perfect. And the idea with a fold able bike is kind of dear to me. As my t-shirt reads today, get assimilated. Get funny toys...


Having a drink

My friend the hattifnatt is ruining my reputation with google. I went from medical advice, via agile conference to this commercial:

Do I drink too much wine?
Is it time for me to quit drinking? You're not alone, we have answers

Please friends, are they right???


As good as it gets...

There's a wonderful movie, which you probably seen, called As good as it gets. Sometimes I think about that title. As good as it gets, and how that is presented in the movie. For you who haven't seen the movie or just don't remember: The guy with no life, so controlled by his mania and ideas that he doesn't have what we would call a life. And then he realizes that this is life, and what if that life is as good as it gets.) Some people say that they just have to endure their life. That this is as good as it gets, even if they don't feel happy. I guess that should be an option when you're 85 or something and have terminal cancer. For us others with no real excuses, life should be as good as we make it. Don't endure the pain of life, enjoy the happiness of living! Cause pain is temporary, living won't stop until you're dead.



A race is always a race

A premiere race for mommy. Havn't raced for three years. Just a 12 km run so a was planning on running home. I didn't remember that a race is always a race. Independant of length... I'd forgotten all about the start, all the different people who for some reason pay money for the pleasure of running among others. It's crowded and you cannot change the route. You should be payed instead. But I'm also part of the culture. Dunno why, but I am.

I almost missed the start. My friend the Hattifnatt came to see me run. (thanks to mikke and petra for coming! I was very happy to see you both!!). We started chatting and suddenly the race was on. I'm always amazed by the people who have no concept of their capacity - some gals started walking in the first climp - it was less than 1 km from the start. For me, the first quarter of a race is always terrible. I curse myself for being som lousy. Then I come to the middle of the race. And somehow, my second half is always better than the first. I get excided by making it halfways.

My plans for running home where soon forgotten. The wrong socks and the whole thing with the race made me understand that it would not be an option. The last hope was gone when I at the finish was presented with some nice bubbly drinks with alcohol. Simply wonderful. And it's kind of fun to drink in the running-in-company-with-no-homour-culture. When the rest were sipping terrible recovery drinks and eating bananas, I was having a drink. So instead, I had a slow walk in the company of friends and my family came to get me. That is a good option as well. (I am also thrilled by my blog being rated as a running blog, if you look at the commercials!)



The evening run

I've always preferred morning runs. I like the idea of doing the necessary things first and then indulge myself in "free stuff". Since running is part of a schedule, it's necessary. Ergo, done as soon as possible. And also, running in the morning means you experince the wonder of the early morning. The beauty of it.

Yesterday I had a lot to think about during the evening and I took a late evening run. Don't know when that happened last. Must be at least five years ago. But it was nice. Really nice. Since I broke my routine and "just went for a run" it didn't feel like the normal things I have to do. I listened to different music than I usually do and I kept the run at that magic time: 40 min. Perfect for becoming warmed up and still not getting at least exhausted afterwards. Perfect temperature and I got to see the sun coming down. Amazing that the run still can get to me. Simply magic. The simple things in life are magic.



The curse of Delivery

I don't know what's wrong with delivery. And then I don't think about child birth. I'm talking about our sprint deliveries. We have a delivery curse. And it's bad. When I started working in our department I was originally a tester. I'd just been with the team for a little more than two months when a delivery was due. Back in those golden days waterfall was the thing so the delivery was a BIG deal. Then the development department leader got sick. And the project manager. And the architect. So no one knew the routine for delivery. Somehow everyone relied on me, the newest kid on the block, to work it out. Perhaps because I'm much older than the guys. Dunno, but somehow everything turned out OK. I was freaked out but we had a release.

Then, I turned into project manager and since this was during the summer months I calculated on having my days off late in the summer. We can't be four weeks late. But we could, and I spent the first week of my holiday on the phone. Of course. Next time I would be prepared. We couldn't be two months late. Well, we couldn't, but Microsoft could be (as a part of the release we were going to test a new hot fix from MS). I spent the first week of my winter holiday on the phone.

Then we turned agile. Release every month! We were going to a nearby village, Eskilstuna, for kick-off. I think this was the only really snowy day of this winter. Snowstorm. Of course. Then I was sick during the two coming releases. During one of them I had high fever and hid most of the time.

So this morning I woke up. I'm well. And there is a release coming up. Hm. Curse broken! But our architect went for an exercise and came back rigid. His old back injury had struck and he couldn't move. Away to the ER with the architect. Late delivery and who knows when will get our architect back. So Agile is evil. Monthly releases are bad for my team's health...


A fat lady with a child with adhd???

I got an e-mail from the Google gods. Didn´t I want to post some commersials on my blog. Ha, don't think my few readers would by their clicking on links make me an financially independant woman, but I thought. why not? Just to see how many clicks on those links. Voila! A commercial for free blogs. Then the funny thing happens. I write the word FAT and suddenly the commercial changes to some fat reduction things. Then I add a link to the only program on kids I can tolerate: Child of our time (I can't help prompting you parents as is or parents to come to watch) and suddenly the commercial is for adhd-drugs. So my new amusement is watching how I can affect the commercials on my blogs with my writing. Oh my, I am interacting with the marketing people! They think I am a fat woman with a child with adhd, but what the f**k. They're probably right. I should go on a diet or give my son some pills to cool him down. The marketing people are always right. I must have turned Christian now that I wrote that word and also wrote the word God. Gotta go and prey for my soul!



To be or not to be

Before I had my son, I would ride my bike to and from work, almost every day. I rode Vätternrundan, a bike race of 300 km, an prior to that, I rode about 20 km a week to train for the event in question. Would I then had called myself a cyclist? N O F A T C H A N C E. My concept of a cyclist includes a person, riding a real racer, with all the correct equipment and riding at a considerable speed. Not in the city. On the road. I was merely out cycling, or riding a bike. But I was no cyclist, and will never become. The question came up during lunch yesterday. People not glued to Tour de France or Giro d'Italia have no concept of the difference between a cyclist and someone riding a bike. But, of course, it is not just in cycling you differ between a person using the tools and a person who have reached another level. Is every person equiped with a hammer a carpenter? Is every person who writes code a developer? You might call it elitistic, but there you have it. When you have a role, it takes more than grabbing the tools to have the role. You might play it, but you won't be it. Or what do you think?


Things you thought you knew you knew

May 1st. So, this is May. Next month I'll be running the marathon again. It's been 3 years since my last crossing the finish line so it will feel like a novelty again. I'm three years older, I'd had a child since last, and I have much more on my mind. During all my other training sessions for long distance running, I stopped drinking almost completely. A glass of wine once a month. Nothing more. I know that alcohol is something athletes should avoid: getting drunk destroys much more of your training than you can imagine. And even small amounts of alcohol lessens the effect of your training. But then, I like wine.

Yesterday, I was on a nice dinner with friends and their friends. I drank Champagne. I've found that I feel much better the day after if I drink Champagne than if I drink red wine for example. (Or perhaps this is something I tell myself just to able to have my favorite drink...) But I didn't think I could go out on a run today as a result of my sinful behaviour. I almost had myself convinced this morning that it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to run today. Then I started calculating.

Hm. I must (according to my non-negotiable-training schedule) run thrice a week. On Saturday, I'm running a 12 km race and was planning to run home from that so that covers this week's long distance. Won't be able to run to work tomorrow. This leaves Thursday, Friday AND Saturday. Nooo. And plan for a run the day after the race. Nooo. Not an option. So it had to be today. So, I squeezed on my sneakers early in the morning and went for a 40 min run. My heart rate was slightly risen but not as I'd imagined. And I thought I knew how my body workes after a bottle of wine. I'm not saying drink and run, I'm saying question what you think you know about yourself. You're in for one (or many) suprise. Hey, you might even run a marathon.